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Building the Workforce 4.0.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Digital transformation is redefining customer expectations and changing the way people live and work. With workforce transitions increasingly high on company and political agenda, CSR Europe will hold a workshop: ‘Making the Business Case for Responsible Digitalisation of Work’ in Brussels on 26 March 2019. In this interview, Greg Miller, Executive Director of Faethm, shares his experience in supporting companies to reskill their employees as a way of preparing for workforce transitions.

1. What are the biggest challenges for companies to master workforce transitions for changing occupations?

Greg Miller (GM). A lot of companies and governmental employer are struggling to answer two critical questions when it comes to their future workforce:

(1) which emerging technologies are going to have the biggest impact on my workforce by when?

(2) what roles in my workforce are at greatest risk form the impact of these technologies and how do I re-skill them?

The challenge with both questions is not having the data intelligence to understand the impact of emerging technology at the most granular level of work (tasks, skills, knowledge, abilities, etc) as well as the inability to unlearn decades of HR practices that are engrained in their systems.  With an Accountant at very high risk of Automation in the coming years…why do we still see HR practices hiring the same skills sets for accounting roles and following the same learning & career path…turning them into CFOs.  The future path for many roles is an unlikely one by current standards…Accounts will make the next Cyber Security level one or Data Scientist.  To get there, however, HR departments will need to unlearn and start fresh with a data driven approach to future skills and workforce.

2. Can you give an example of organisations who are preparing this Workforce 4.0?

GM. The Government of Luxembourg is supported by PwC Luxembourg in upskilling employees of companies whose activity will be transformed by technological changes towards a new organization, new functions and new jobs.

For this purpose, PwC Luxembourg designed a tailor-made operational toolbox. This will enable the companies to accelerate job transformation as well as a well-structured process to guide the companies through the digital change. Faethm is included in the operational toolbox and is used to determine the future workforce. In fact, with Feathm, PwC can visualize in detail which departments and roles of a company are at high risk of automation in the upcoming years.

3. Once the roles at risk of automation are identified, what is the next step?

G.M. The toolbox’s function “job corridor” suggests upskilling opportunities by showing the skills gap and the training effort. This tool is in this program a main discussion entry point with companies, as it becomes clear that changes will take place in the future and that it’s important to act now. The visualizations of Faethm help to define the main action areas where a preventive upskilling program is key in order to avoid redundancy and unemployment because of a lack of skills. For more information of the Luxembourg Digital Skill Bridge program, visit the dedicated homepage on www.skillsbridge.lu.

GM. The over 15 companies participating in the Luxembourg Digital Skills Bridge program, first provided their workforce data to PwC and received a detailed debriefing afterwards. This debriefing aims at planning the strategy of the future workforce in collaboration with the company and in line with their digital transformation plan.

The output of the Faethm tool provides key insights on the impact of the digital disruption on roles, gender, location and others. In our debriefing we focus on the impact on roles as well as potential job corridors as the development of employees at risk is at the center of the Skills Bridge program.

The use of Faethm in the strategic workforce exercise supports the company in achieving a clearer view on the risks of automation for the coming years, in understanding which roles are at risk and finally in choosing the groups of employees to be upskilled.

CSR Europe’s workshop on the Business Case for Responsible Digitalisation of Work on 26 March will bring together HR and CSR Managers to exchange on success conditions for realizing responsible digitalization of work. The meeting will feature company case studies to assess the direct benefits of responsible digitalization in given sectorial contexts. You can register here or contact Tommi Raivio (tr@csreurope.org) for more information.